Caps and Taps visit the Great American Beer Festival

Steph and Phill found themselves in Denver last week, and by a complete coincidence it was the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). This beer festival is just huge - we went five years ago and we just knew we had to take advantage of this timing and go again. 

We could talk about nearly all the beers we managed to try but here's a top five instead. We had loads of great pales and fresh IPAs, but the stouts seemed to really stand out to us this time...

WeldWerks Brewing Co, Coffee Maple Achromatic. Imperial Stout
Whilst most people were going for the excellent IPAs from WeldWerks Steph was drawn to their stout. This was a massive beer, full of chocolate malts, maple syrup and a tonne of coffee which worked together well, although the coffee still managed to really shine through.

New Belgium Brewing Co, Oscar Aged In Blackberry Whiskey Barrels
This is a dark sour ale aged in blackberry-flavoured whiskey barrels. However that description doesn’t really cover how amazing this beer is. This starts off as a 100% Foeder aged beer which is then aged in the barrels from Leopold Bros Distillery in Denver. It is nuanced, delicate and balanced, and the flavours were just incredible.

Left Hand, Wake Up Dead. Imperial Stout
This is a beer we've been lucky enough to sell in the shop before, but it was still a treat to try it at the festival. This beer hits you with massive flavours of dark chocolate, raisins and liquorice. Unfortunately it's not available again in the UK for a while, but we are due some Milk Stout Nitro next week and are having a party on 1st November. Come on down!

Green Cheek Beer Company, Clichazé. IPA
We were excited to be able to try these guys again after getting some sweet tastes in at Beavertown Extravaganza last month. This New England IPA was super juicy and smooth. It was also, unsurprisingly, hazy af.

Kane Brewing, Sunday Brunch. Imperial Stout
Steph hates cinnamon and yet somehow this beer was one of her favourites of the festival. The dreaded cinnamon along with coffee and maple syrup to make a thick, rich beer that would be welcome at brunch any day of the week.

Honourable Mentions
Melvin 2x4 DIPA, Black Project Dreamland Sour, Cellar Maker Double Dobis DIPA

We managed to fail to take any photos whilst at GABF apart from this one...

 
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London Craft Beer Festival

London Craft Beer Festival is now in it's 5th year and is bigger than ever. They've moved to a  bigger site and we want these guys to have their best festival yet! Expect Verdant, Other Half, Cloudwater, Omnipollo, Modern Times.

London Craft Beer Festival
Dates: 4-6 August 2017
Location: Shoreditch Electric Light Station, Hoxton Sq., Shoreditch N1 6HD
Tickets: £42.50 include entry, all your beer, festival glass and magazine
 

Q&A with Jimmy from Unity Brewing Company

We've recently started stocking Southampton-based Unity Brewing Co, so to introduce you to this new brewery, we've asked the founder and head brewer Jimmy a few questions...

How did you become a brewer? 

I used to work in wine sales and retail, but always had a big interest in beer after my Dad introduced me to Belgian beer from producers like De Dolle, Struise and De Ranke, and big American IPA's like Pliny the Elder and Great Divide Hercules. I was discovering you could get all the complexity and flavour experiences of really expensive wine but without the bullshit and for a hell of a lot less money. This got me into homebrewing and I finally made the jump, getting a job as the sales and marketing manager at a brewery in London. I was pretty hands on there and and learned a lot from the brewers, finding that I got a lot more out of making it than selling it. By then I was so far down the rabbit whole that I knew I wouldn't do anything else. 6 years later and having worked at 5 other breweries, here I am running my own. 

 
Jimmy with Betty, "the brains of the operation"

Jimmy with Betty, "the brains of the operation"

What was the first beer you brewed and what was it like?

The first beer I ever homebrewed was a Belgian Blonde and it came out surprisingly good! Unfortunately not all my homebrews came out quite as well. The first commercial beer I ever brewed was a Rye Saison that the brewery I was doing sales for let me brew for my wedding. It came out much stronger that we expected (not accounting for Saison yeasts classic high attenuation) so our guests were pretty boozed but it tasted awesome. A theme of what I like to brew definitely developed pretty early on. 

What excites you about making beer?

Taking a jumble of raw ingredients and turning them into something so much greater than their individual parts is magic. The subtleties of how every little thing in the process affects the final outcome is fascinating and getting to see people enjoy something you put a huge amount of love and effort into never gets old either. 

Are there any collaborations you'd like to do or have in the works?

We're brewing with Vibrant Forest next Monday. They are good friends of ours and we've been talking about it for ages, so we're brewing a Coffee Blonde. We're also really excited to be a part of Collabageddon this year, set up by Elusive Brewing. It is 7 breweries brewing 8 beers, launched in 16 bars through the UK. We're matched up with Odyssey and Affinity, so look out for collabs with them late this year. 

 
Unity Beers

What is your favourite Unity beer?

That's like asking a parent who their favourite child is. So er, yes there is always a favourite! For me it has to be Congregate, our Belgian pale. It shows off all the ingredients really nicely, it's not big and really expressive, it's just light, clean and hoppy in a bitter, noble herbal and lemony way. I could drink it all day. The bottled versions of our seasonal saisons are really satisfying as well, I've got a real love for Brettanomyces and it develops really nicely when bottle conditioning with it. 

What is your favourite non-Unity beer?

It's probably going to be Orval (at a year old to be precise, when the brett has really taken hold but the hops haven't totally dropped out yet), though I could drink Taras Boulba from Brasserie De La Senne all day every day. 

What would you be doing if you weren’t a brewer?

I started a record label when I was in my early 20's and used to play in a lot of bands, maybe I'd be doing something in the music industry. Either that or running a craft beer shop which was actually the dream before I became a brewer.

Thanks to Jimmy for taking the time to answer these questions. We've really been enjoying the beers, so come down and try some yourselves! We currently have Quorum (brune), Coalescence (saison), Conflux (pale) and Congregate (Jimmy's fave!) in stock.

New Beer 6th June 2017

We haven't given an updated list for a while - so here are a few of the latest beers we have.

Cheers,

Beavertown Humuloid
Beavertown Lervig M.A.D. Double IPA

BrewDog Pump Action Poet

Buxton King Slayer DIPA

Cloudwater Hallertau Blanc IPA
Cloudwater DIPL
Cloudwater Session IPA Simcoe Mosaic
Cloudwater Mittelfruh Tettenger Helles

DEYA Steading Rolling Man

HORAL Megablend 2017

Lervig Supersonic DIPA
Lervig Hop Locker DDH Simcoe IPA

North Brewing Utijle Double IPA

Northern Monk Other Half Cherry & Coffee Imperial Porter
Northern Monk Fieldworks Travel Notes IPA
Northern Monk Verdant DEYA Hazemaker IPA
Northern Monk Alefarm Saesoner

Omnipollo Hypnopompa
Omnipollo Hypnopompa Rum Barrel Aged

Redchurch House Brett
Redchurch Sylvan
Redchurch Pasture

Tiny Rebel Captain Insano Triple IPA

Verdant Brewing Fifty Summers
Verdant Brewing Bloom IPA

Wild Beer Co Squashed Grape

Wylam Disco Barrel Aged Haxan
Wylam Disco Barrel Aged Club of Slaughter
Wylam Disco Barrel Aged ESB
Wylam Disco Barrel Aged Calyx

GIN - Northern Monk Infirmarian Black Hop Gin

New Beer (Thursday 24th Febrewary)

We've had quite a few deliveries in the last two weeks, loads of new stuff from Verdant, Cloudwater and Belguim!

Beavertown Double Chin (DIPA, double Neck Oil)
Beavertown Heavy Water (Imperial Stout, with sour cherries and salt)
Beavertown Tempus Project El Mariachi (Gose, aged in Tequila barrels with Lime)
Beavertown Tempus Project Moonshiner (Berliner Weisse, aged in Bourbon barrels with Lemon)

Brew By Numbers 05|20 IPA Azacca & Amarillo
Brew By Numbers 08|06 Stout Oatmeal
Brew By Numbers 11|22 Session IPA Waimea & Wai-iti
Brew By Numbers 17|06 Table Saison Sorachi & Lemon
Brew By Numbers 21|07 Pale Ale NZ Cascade
Brew By Numbers 21|08 Pale Ale Ekuanot & Wai-iti
Brew By Numbers 55|04 Double IPA Citra & Ekuanot

Buxton/Stillwater Subluminal (Imperial Stout)
Buxton/Stillwater Superluminal (Sour IPA)
Buxton/To Ol Sky Mountain Sour

Boon Vat 109 (Monoblend of Geuzue)

Cantillon Grand Cru Bruscella (very limited) (one per person)
Cantillon Kriek (one per person)

Cloudwater IPA Vic Secret & Wai-iti (440ml can)
Cloudwater IPL El Dorado & Mosaic (440ml can)
Cloudwater Pale Ale (440ml can)
Cloudwater V12 DIPA (440ml can) (now sold out)

Chorlton Amarillo Sour
Cholrton Mandarina Lager
Chorlton & Vocation Sour & Death

De Ranke XX Bitter
De Ranke Kriek De Ranke

Duvel Houblon Chouffe

Guineu Esgarrapats (hoppy IPA)
Guineu Vitis Picapoll (pale ale with white grape must)

Hanssens Framboise
Hanssens Oude Geuzue

Lervig Tasty Juice

La Pirata Lab 004 (IPA with lychees)

Magic Rock Fantasma

Marble Damage Plan

Northern Monk Bombay Dazzler
Northern Monk Patron Project 4.01 Passion Fruit Lassi IPA
Northern Monk Southern Star

Redchurch Pillars of Salt
Redchurch Dry Hop Sour Citra
Redchurch Great Eastern IPA
Redchurch Paradise Pale

Tiny Rebel Cali (cans)
Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropicana (cans)
Tiny Rebel Cwtch (cans)

Tilquin Geuzue A L'Ancienne Au Carre (750ml)

Thornbridge Bear State

Verdant/Deya High Plane Drifter DIPA (very limited, only one can per person)
Verdant/Howling Hops 8 Mansions DIPA
Verdant I Played Trumpet On That Tune IPA
Verdant Maybe, 1 More PSI DIPA
Verdant Headband
Verdant Bloom

Wylam/Yeastie Boys WXY²